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Saratoga to host Racing Under Saddle on Sunday
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - by Michelle Miller, RUS New York

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Milford, NY --- Racing at Saratoga Casino Hotel usually consists of drivers racing trotters or pacers while pulling a sulky. However, on Sunday (Oct. 16) spectators will have the chance to see a different style of racing called Racing Under Saddle.

A hybrid between harness and Thoroughbred racing, RUS is an exciting part of international Standardbred racing and is conducted daily at most European tracks as part of their regular pari-mutuel wagering programs. The sport has not become a wagering event in the States, but has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years.

Riders race on Standardbreds, the same kind of horses that are regularly driven at the track. The horses are started behind a moving starting gate just like harness racing. The ride may look a bit bumpy for the riders, as unlike Thoroughbred racing, the horses are supposed to stay on a trotting gait instead of galloping.

This will mark the second time this year Saratoga Casino Hotel and the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association have teamed with RUS New York to host such an event. Saratoga was the site of the last race of the RUS New York Fair Series. The Aug. 30 race featured a field of nine horses.

In recognition of breast cancer awareness month, the seven riders (all women) in the Oct. 16 RUS event will wear pink helmet covers. The race will feature a purse of $400 per horse as state law requires that the purse be distributed evenly to all participants. The winner of the race will receive a cooler made possible by generous sponsors.

The SHHA is putting up $1,600 for the purse, and RUS New York will be contributing the rest of the purse money. RUS New York depends on sponsorships and fundraising to raise funds for racing.

RUS New York was formed in early 2014 to assist with the organization and management of the series and races across the state. The main goal is to promote RUS as a sport, increase interest in Standardbred racing and showcase the versatility of the Standardbred breed. The group also promotes the Standardbred breed as a riding and sport horse, beyond just the sport of racing.

To learn more about RUS New York visit

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